Surely it is self-evident that in the way we raise our children, we should lead them somewhere. Where, then, should we lead them?Is not the simple, obvious answer: from immaturity to maturity? What, then, is maturity? Let me propose a definition: Maturity is the ability to relate appropriately to other realities than one’s own. Immaturity is a child throwing a tantrum because he can not get what he wants. Children discover as they grow up that life is not always disposed to comply with their wishes. The process of growing up is one of learning to “play the odds” – to adapt to situations as they are, and not as one wishes they were. Immature people typically decry such adaptation as “compromise.”
Many people mature a little, but not much, beyond the child with his temper tantrums. Much might have been accomplished during the time they were growing up to cure them of this infantilism. Instead, the very dogmas of our times feed their immaturity instead of curing it. Not long ago, during an economic recession in America, many hundreds of workers in the city of Detroit, Michigan lost their jobs. A considerable number were given psychiatric counseling to help them adjust. There were too many cases, however, to make this counsel ling available to everyone. Interestingly, those who were given counseling had a notably more difficult times adjusting to their new circumstances.
How to explain these result? The report said that the “beneficiaries” of counseling were encouraged to dwell on their predicament, and to consider various theoretical means of coping with it. Those who missed the opportunity for counseling wasted no time in theorizing. They accepted reality as it presented itself to them, and set themselves to rebuilding their lives. Maturity is not a finishing line reached automatically at a certain age. It is a never ending-process. We sail towards expansive horizons of awareness until we find infinity.
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